Low fructan content

A low fructan concentration in grass reduces the risk of laminitis. Fructan is a carbohydrate (a type of sugar) that is produced by grass plants under the influence of sunlight. Grass plants produce particularly large amounts of fructan when nights are cold and sunlight is intense.

Fructan

Fructan is currently regarded as one of the main causes of laminitis. It is only partly digested in the small intestine, resulting in high sugar levels in the hind gut that disturb the bacterial balance in the intestines. This leads to the formation of toxic substances that may cause laminitis.

 

Low fructan content

Barenbrug has done a lot of research into the fructan (sugar) contents of different grasses. Some grass species are known for their low fructan contents, but even within a species, some varieties contain more fructan than others. The varieties in Horse Master contain an impressive 50% less fructan than varieties of grass intended for cattle and sheep.

 

Barenbrug analyses the fructan contents of more than 70 grass varieties a year. The following graph shows you the great differences in the fructan contents of different varieties. The varieties in Horse Master contain on average less than half of the fructan that is to be found in cattle grass varieties.

Good grassland management

Good grassland management can reduce the amounts of fructan stored by the grass plants. In the first place, it is important to ensure sufficient nutrients and moisture to enable the grass to grow properly. Secondly, the grass may not be grazed too short.

Fructan contents of hay and grass silage

As hay is mostly made at high temperatures, its fructan content will usually be low. Grass silage is often produced in early spring, and can be mown in cold weather because it does not have to dry completely. The fructan content of the grass may be very high, especially in the case of sunny weather combined with cold nights. Grass silage is therefore less suitable for horses that are susceptible to laminitis.

Where to buy

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